“This was a big move for me, bringing my family to a country I had never visited was a big decision, but it was all worth it in the end.”
D owns superstar Gastón Sirino is enjoying a new adventure in South Africa and loving every minute of it.
Let’s start with what you expected when you first joined the club from Bolivar in Bolivia?
“I was looking for a new challenge after winning the league with Bolivar. I had heard there was interest in me from a club in South Africa. In South America we hear very little about South African football so I had to look into the club and it’s history. I called my agent and asked him what he thought of the club. He told me about the Champions League victory and the success the club enjoyed. That was enough for me to take up the challenge and explore this opportunity under the guidance of Coach Pitso, who made me feel welcomed and made it easy for me to adjust to the league and my team mates.”
How have you and your family found South African culture and have you adjusted to life here?
“It was really easy adjusting to life here, the people here are very friendly and welcoming. The Sundowns supporters are unreal, from the songs in the stadiums to when they see me around outside football. They have embraced me and my family and it’s very comforting to see and experience this love. My family and daughters are enjoying themselves and have become my private interpreters, they have picked up English very quickly.”
Talk to us about the level of football here and in South America, is it different?
“It is different, here the football is a lot more physical. It took me some time to adjust to the physicality and speed at first. Coach Pitso helped me a lot here and allowed me the time to adjust and never rushed me”
People refer to you as an emotional player, do you feel players and teams target you?
“Laughs… I am a very emotional player. I put everything into every game and sometimes I let my emotions get the better of me. I am growing as a player and a person and want to leave that all behind. I feel like I have become a senior player in the team now and need to lead by example.”
What are your thoughts on the current state of the PSL and lockdown?
“It has been really sad to see the world in this condition, I have family visiting and family overseas in Uruguay who are in similar conditions. I think it is very important that we all listen to our governments and stay at home so they can work at getting us all back to normal and playing football again.”
How have you been spending this time at home?
“I have my family here from Uruguay so it has really been a blessing spending this much time with my fiancé, kids and the rest of my family. I haven’t been able to do this in years. We are also constantly talking and checking up on my family in Uruguay who are also quarantined at home.”
What is your current daily routine?
“I generally wake up early, by 10am, my kids won’t let me sleep past then. We then all have breakfast together and call our family and friends back home. We have started a new family work out which we then all participate in, for about 45min. That leaves most of my family, especially my daughters, finished and that buys me some time later when they get to bed early. I then train on my own a little later, and unwind with PlayStation at the end of the day.”
We see lots of videos of you training, are you keeping fit at home?
“I am working on staying sharp and relatively fit, nothing beats training on a pitch and match fitness but I am doing what I can. I have a couple of drills that I run with, but we need to be back on the pitch. We are all training together a few days a week online, and then I do another session in the evening with Melania.”
What other activities are keeping you busy during lockdown?
“When my kids get to bed, we like to watch some series and TV together. We are also getting stuck into the kitchen together. I also watch a lot of repeats of matches on TV, which makes me want to train and get back on the pitch.”
Favourite moment with the Brazilians?
“Lifting the trophy in the 2017/18 season, coming from another league and winning the PSL was a big moment for me, and justified my reason for joining the club.”